The Moderate Muslim Scam

Moderate Muslims, there are only so many ways you can twist this, only so many hoops you can jump through …

Perhaps there really is only one true Islam …

“There’s only one Islam, and all self proclaimed Muslims are Muslims, including ISIS, and Ahmadis, … and we all agree on the punishments prescribed in the Quran and Hadith, for apostasy, theft, sex outside marriage, adultery, …. I just don’t like to admit it to non-Musims.”

Except, of course, you don’t all agree. So, maybe there isn’t one true Islam …

“There’s diversity in Islam. ISIS are Muslims, but not practicing my kind of Islam. I don’t agree with … and I don’t agree on the punishments prescribed in the Quran and Hadith, for apostasy, theft, sex outside marriage, adultery, …. I know better than Mohammed, and I think that Allah has changed the rules.”

But usually, it’s something like this …

“ISIS aren’t Muslims, Ahmadis aren’t Muslims, … all those other self-proclaimed Muslims that happen to be an inconvenience to my claim that there is only one true Islam, while trying to distance myself from those other ‘Muslims’ that follow aspects of Islam in ways I don’t like (or don’t like to admit to) … well, they are not Muslims.”

Who gave you the right to say they are not Muslims or that they are doing Islam wrong?

Because I AM a Muslim. I should know. Whereas you, non-Muslim, are ignorant about Islam.

Who gets to decide who are true Muslims? What qualifies YOU to decide?

The scholars tell me!

How do I know which scholars are the right scholars to listen to?

Because they are the ones that I happen to think fit the kind of Muslim I want to be … err, though there is only one kind of Muslim, the kind that fits into the narrow band that I think won’t embarrass my religion.

Pity. This is all so embarrassing.

A Muslim Embarrassing Himself

This morning, as I started to write this, I thought I’d better go an dig up some examples, knowing there are plenty. I opened Twitter, and bingo! A gift from Allah?

First, Dawkins, one of the people I follow, had a tweet at the top of my feed, and the very first reply …

This seems like a reasonable response …

And, in turn, we have the usual nonsense …

Let that sink in …

“Not minimising anything. Just pointing out that any sane, moral, rightminded, peaceful individual can recognise …”

So, why do sane, moral, rightminded, peaceful individuals need Islam?

“The punishment for blasphemy in Islam is not death.”

Maybe not in YOUR version of Islam. But you know it is in some versions … which sort of makes a mockery of ‘one true Islam’, or any claims by ANY Muslim to understand Islam, when clearly, different Muslims have different understandings of Islam.

The One True Islam Embarrassment

K T Shamim’s bio reveals he’s an Ahmaddi Muslim … not allowed to call themselves Muslims in Pakistan, opposed by many other Muslims. But still, he thinks he knows the one true Islam.

“The true religion [Ahmadis claim there’s is the one true Islam] …. Don’t know which Islam these Muslims follow …”

 So, there are multiple Islams? But how does K T know that his is the true one, and not the Islam of ISIS?

Hold on! It’s all very nice that K T likes the love and peace Islam, but how does he know that’s the right one? How come punishment and intolerance aren’t the one true Islam? Or why not both?

Really, why not both the peach and love AND the punishment and intolerance? Why are the nice verses taken literally and the nasty verses require excuses?

It’s not like I’m advocating this all inclusive Islam as system to follow. My point is, why can’t you just do peace and love WITHOUT Islam? Why stick with and try to a system in which so many declare the Quran inerrant and have to go to all this trouble to defend it … and let’s be honest … to LIE for Islam, to escape its violent nasty clutches.

Trav’s Travesty of BS in, On Dawkins is the daily online news site of the American Humanist Association.

On 28 September 2015 it ran with this post: Atheists Have an Anti-Muslim Bigotry Problem by Trav Mamone

Now I’m sure there are atheists that are bigoted towards Muslims. But the target of the post was Dawkins and Maher, who are not anti-Muslim bigots, though they are anti-Islam.

That distinction seems to be beyond the pseudo-liberals. Continue reading “Trav’s Travesty of BS in, On Dawkins”

Dawkins Tweets Ahmed Support

Yes, Richard Dawkins really did tweet in support of Ahmed Mohamed (Storify link below). Dawkins tweeted that the arrest was wrong. He also tweeted many questions, questioning some of the points various other people were making.

But, heaven forbid, he was a little too fastidious in pointing out that stuffing a clock guts into a box isn’t an ‘invention’. For that he’s an anti-Muslim racist bigot, apparently. Even though he apologised for being overly sensitive to the correct use of terms (we know what he thinks about ‘Evolution is just a theory’).

Yes, Dawkins tweeted. That was enough for many of his haters. Continue reading “Dawkins Tweets Ahmed Support”

Dawkins, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

You’re with it by now, right? Lauren Nelson (Lake?) loves Richard Dawkins. She wrote a crappy post, got called out on it, then on her blog told us how we got it wrong, that she loves him but he could do better. It’s all been said, in comments, on twitter, on other blogs, … but … I don’t want to be left out!!!

So, there was this: Richard Dawkins Fails Spectacularly on Feminism and Islam – Lauren Nelson, on Friendly Atheist. Continue reading “Dawkins, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”

John Gray’s Poor Thinking on Dawkins

For a philosopher that likes to point out the nuances of the philosophy he thinks Dawkins misses out on, Gray is awfully sloppy with his own thinking – sloppy or malicious, possibly both.

“The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins – His atheism is its own kind of narrow religion”

In what way is Dawkins close minded? Closed to ideas that lack evidence to support them, Continue reading “John Gray’s Poor Thinking on Dawkins”

Dawkins v Myers: The Slurs Continue

Rape is bad. In similar circumstances the a similar event might be worse for some victims than others. And depending on how it affects the victim what looks superficially like a worse rape, such as by a stranger at knife point, than another rape, such as by a friend on a date, may in fact not be what we expect. One victim might find the date rape far more traumatic than the attack by a stranger, because perhaps the failure of trust between them and the trusted friend might completely fuck up the victim’s capacity to trust and interact with people generally. The victim of a stranger rape might be able to put that into a box, a dreadful box not to be opened again, so that they can get on with their lives. Continue reading “Dawkins v Myers: The Slurs Continue”

BBC 4: Beautiful Minds: Richard Dawkins

Thank you BBC for another good programme: Beautiful Minds: Richard Dawkins.

There are a couple of points that are well worth taking from the programme; points which Dawkins has been struggling to make clear since he had to suffer the backlash of The Selfish Gene.

Steven Rose, like many people who object to scientific truths, fail to understand the basic distinction between the descriptive role of science, and their own desires about what they want to be the case. This was also exemplified by the response of the political right of the 70’s and 80’s. It’s also characteristic of those who oppose the notion of illusory free-will on the basis of what they think are the moral implications. Raymond Tallis, a British Humanist, neurobiologist, and writer of many books opposing illusory free-will, and the animal nature of humans, is particularly prone to the this mistake. If science tells you something and you don’t like what it says about us humans, then tough luck. You don’t get to decide what is the case by what you want to be the case.

This isn’t a new enlightenment from Dawkins. Bertrand Russell made the very same point in his 1959 BBC interview (about 7:45 in). When asked about what he would like to leave for future generations he said:

When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only, what are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bare out. Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you would wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. Look only and solely at what are the facts.

Dawkins also made clear in his programme that it is for humans to rebel against the selfish gene, and that it does not need to be a prescription for how we should live our lives. This too was expressed by Russell, in the following:

Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way, if we are to live together and not die together. We must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on the planet.

There are many critics of Dawkins who will want to point to his New Atheist stridency as being in opposition to this sentiment; but they get that wrong too. Dawkins is only intolerantly opposed to the intolerance of religion and its unforgiving drive to persuade by foul means, of indoctrination, religious fanatical bullying, and denial of science for religious ends – the latter being precisely what Russell was objecting to in his first point. Though it’s true that Dawkins may have a personal distaste, and a strong position on the intellectual case, as made by Russell’s first point, it is also true that he is tolerant of our freedom to believe what we want, however dumb that may be. It’s odd that the very criticisms of the supposed stridency and intolerance of Dawkins are better directed to many of those that make them.


McGrath, Dennet, Dawkins – Memes

I read this debate between Dennet and McGrath:

I think McGrath is right to point out that the meme hypothesis is purely that – with no evidence. The hypothesis can be made to fit history, but is it falsifiable, and what supportive evidence is there?

McGrath points out Blackmore’s acceptence that atheism is a meme, just as theism is. Is atheism a meme? In some respects – when there is unquestioned belief in atheism. And I suppose the same hypothesis can be applied to any human idea – such as the appreciation of art, what art is, how it evolved, etc.

But scientific atheism accepts its own vulnerability, and does not claim infalability, and does not require faith. It is not a belief system in itself, but a consequence of what all humans do – attempt to understand and reason about the world around us. Atheism is a probabilistic conclusion, not a dogma, not a self sustaining belief. It may be that atheism as a world view is falsified in the future, by scientifically supported evidence of God. But how would theism be falsified? No matter what was discovered about the universe god could always be postulated to be beyond that.

McGrath points out some of the flaws in the meme hypothesis: “But my real question is this: how would Dr Blackmore and Professor Dennett be able to settle that point scientifically? If they are not able to do so, then we have a non-scientific debate about imaginary entities, hypothesised by analogy with the gene. And we all know how unreliable arguments based on analogy can be – witness the fruitless search for the luminiferous ether in the late nineteenth century, based on the supposed analogy between light and sound. It was analogically plausible – but non-existent. The analogy was invalid. Richard Dawkins tells us that memes are merely awaiting their Crick and Watson; I think they are merely waiting for their Michelson and Morley.”

I would agree with this, particularly about the inappropriateness of analogies sometimes. Dawkins Burka analogy in “The God Delusion” is suspect, for example.

McGrath makes another good point about the association of ‘evil’ with religion: “Now Professor Dennett might respond by saying that these are not typical of atheism. I believe he would be right to do so. But neither are the excesses of violence and intolerance that he does mention, typical of religion. I appreciate the need for a bit of rhetoric and exaggeration to spice up an argument, but one cannot represent the pathological elements of any movement, religious or antireligious, as if they were normal or typical. Few of us in this audience tonight are in favour of fanaticism; but it is clearly perfectly possible to be a fanatical atheist, as much as a fanatical religionist. It’s fanaticism that’s the problem, not religion or anti-religion.”

Agreed. I think the early use of the ‘evil’, as in ‘evil in the name of…’ and the other old chestnut ‘the problem of evil’ are fine as simplistic rebuttals of simplistic claims of theist about the inherent goodness of religion. Both theists and atheists would be better to leave these out of the main debate. Basically ‘evil’ can be performed by anyone, religious or not. And the problem of evil can be argued either way, as problematic for theism, or inconsequential as evidence against.

McGrath is right here: “In Oxford, we are facing a threat from one of the most fanatical groups in British society today: animal rights protestors. They are not religious. They are driven by an ideology – by a world view. Surely our common enemy is the fanatic, first and foremost. We need to reflect on how to control this phenomenon. But it is a clear factual error to assume that this is limited to, or necessarily characteristic of, religion.”

However, Dawkins point is that the dogmatic teaching of religion to children makes them amenable to irrational unquestioned ideas later. That would also be true if we taught dogmatic atheism to children too. I think Dawkins, (and Stephen Law in “The War for Childrens’ Minds”) are really promoting the teaching of reasoning to children, and the removal of teaching of dogmatic religion – and are not proposing the teaching of atheism. Read Stephen Law’s books on philosophy – they don’t promote atheism as such, but ask questions and invite the reader to think of their own answers.